5 Things You Must Do in Lisbon
Lisbon is one of my favourite places. There will without a doubt be more posts on this beautiful city, but here’s my absolutely-do-not-miss-must-do list…
5. Get emotional over fado in Alfama
Fado is a type of folk song, typically imbued with melancholy and nostalgia. And who doesn’t want to wallow in sorrow while on a sunny city break? In all seriousness though, a live performance of fado is a thoroughly special experience.
Fado is often performed in restaurants so you can treat your ears and taste buds at the same time. This musical style was born in the sloping streets of Alfama, where fado is plentiful. As the oldest district of Lisbon, Alfama itself is an unmissable part of town, with its charming labyrinth of narrow streets, open squares and viewpoints of the city.
4. Hop on tram 28 (in the evening)
Speaking of Alfama, the longest tram route through Lisbon snakes its way through this area along with other must-see districts. It’s not only a convenient way to get around, but this unsteady, rickety ride is a hell of a lot of fun!
If you can nab a window seat on this little yellow tram, it’s a great way to soak up the sights as it screeches through the streets. However, if you check out the TripAdvisor reviews a lot of people feel their ride was way too overcrowded. But (hot tip incoming) there was plenty of space when I hopped on during a balmy night (past 9pm). Whizzing through downtown as it was lit by the warm glow of the street lamps was pretty magical.
3. Visit the very unique and very beautiful Sintra
Please forgive me, I know this is cheating because it’s not technically in Lisbon, but this town is only a 40-minute train ride away and it is 100% worth the journey!
It’s quite easy to get to the main attractions of Sintra as it is cleverly catered to tourists. Guides offer help as soon as you arrive at the main station and frequent shuttle buses cart tourists to the top sites. The Pena National Palace is a must, with it’s gorgeous, brightly coloured exterior and remarkable combo of architectural styles. Wander around the lovely surrounding grounds too – they’re part landscaped garden, part wild forest.
2. Trying the famous (for a reason) Pastéis de Belém
These little egg tarts are toooo glorious. I mean, the Guardian named them the 15th most tasty delicacy in the world for a reason. The filling is slightly wobbly custard-y heaven, but the star of the show is the crispy, delicate layers of flaky pastry.
Once you arrive at this renowned bakery in Belém, skip the crazy-long takeaway line at the front. Just plonk yourself down in the huge dining area and order as many as you please. The turnover is so quick that the tarts are always fresh-from-the-oven warm.
I ate a stupid amount of tarts during my trip and these were my favourites. Of course it boils down to personal taste, but it’s definitely worth sampling these to see if they live up to the hype for you.
1. Take in the best view of Lisbon
Lisbon is a city of viewpoints. You could be puffing and cursing your way up a steep incline, turn a corner and BAM – you’re surprised with a spectacular view. But you can’t miss Miradouro da Senhora do Monte for a sweeping panorama of the city. It’s popular with tourists, but there’s plenty of room for everyone and it’s surprisingly tranquil. We walked all the way from Barrio Alto and it was an enjoyable stroll. You can even take the aforementioned tram 28 to Graça and walk the rest.
Time it so you reach the tippity top of the hill for sunset and revel in a perfect moment. As you watch the sky slowly darken with strangers from all over the world, it’ll cement your love for Lisbon, I promise.